What to do in the offseason?
If I was called by Bill Stoneman for my input, here is what I say:
1) Upgrade the offense by pursuing a top-tier center fielder. That basically means Vernon Wells or Andruw Jones. The Blue Jays need middle infield help. O-Cab should be shopped in this hypothetical deal, but if they don't take him I am willing to part with Aybar in this deal. So, for Vernon Wells, I assume that a package of Saunders, Aybar and Figgins gets the deal done, and the other condition is a window to negotiate a long-term deal with Wells. If he or the Jays balk at that demand, screw them. Wells wants to go to Texas - we can't let him hit the market after 2007.
The trade for Andruw Jones is a different beast. The Braves need relief pitching. Scot Shields should be the centerpiece of this hypothetical deal with Chone Figgins and maybe Saunders rounding the deal out. I really haven't thought this one though as much as the Wells deal, but that seems about right. Also, a long-term deal from Jones is necessary for this to fly. The Halos can not end up renting a guy for a year - that won't work, it is too risky to give up that much for a one-year rental.
2) Don't, whatever you do, trade Ervin Santana unless the booty in return is Miguel Cabrera. With A-Ram unavailable, give Mr. McPherson another shot at 3rd base - he and Quinlan are a dynamite platoon tandem unless Cabrera is available. Then you start with Santana and Kotchman/Morales and see what the response is.
3) Upgrade the bullpen - he already signed Speier to a stupid-long contract, but Speier is pretty damn good right now, so only years 3 and 4 are really looking sketchy. The trade of Gregg to Florida isn't great, it isn't bad - it just is.
4) Don't go after Soriano, Zito, Lee or any other "top" FA this year. It is a stupid market right now and you will regret the contract in two years.
This is where I start - in that order.
We'll see what Stoney does...